Monday, December 5, 2016

Day 8: The Internet

     I'm going to go back to something I mentioned in  one of my first few posts: my love/hate relationship with the Internet and technology. Phones are such amazing devices, allowing us to do almost everything we ever imagined. It's so impressive how quickly we as human beings are able to advance this technology.
     But the downside is that people get carried away on phones. You don't see the person you are communicating with, so there aren't as many consequences, right? You're safe in the bubble of your room or wherever you are when you are communicating with others. This can be nice for those with different anxieties, allowing us to "verbalize" that which we may not be able to otherwise. It's the coward's way out, yes, I know this. And this is why I try to avoid misusing the tools we have been gifted. But that's the problem, isn't it? People get too carried away and it becomes uncomfortable. You get caught up in the moment, thinking nothing can touch you--you have some sort of force-field around you and you become invincible.
     Then the moment is over. Reality hits. All you've said catches up to you as you see whomever it was that you messaged. Your impulses start biting you in the butt. People start wondering what got into them. I have these moments the most at night, when I'm the most confident, careless, and outspoken. Then the next day or the one after that I see glimpses of the person I was talking to and all of a sudden my anxiety kicks into gear and I overthink every little detail.

      Then there are other wondrous things about the Internet, a little something I would like to call Internet Predators. How can there be people out there so determined to ruin the lives of others? Think of all those young girls and boys who find the fun of social media and connecting with friends. Then one day they get a follow or friend request or maybe a new message from someone they don't recognize. They accept the request or might message back and soon enough they think they have some new friend. But the reality probably is that this "friend" is an Internet Predator: some older man (or woman) preying on the innocence and gullibility of some young person.
       Here is where the problems start kicking in: the kids start giving away sensitive information about themselves--their names, birthdays, where they live, etc--and now this Internet Predator has more information about this person. One day, this poor kid is messaging their "friend" and the "friend" asks if they want to hang out. Red flags should be popping up all over the place but of course, this is just some innocent friendship, nothing to be afraid of.
      So they go to the meeting place, maybe telling their parents they're going to see a friend, maybe just leaving without saying anything. They get to the meeting point and a car pulls up with an adult inside. But they don't look like your new internet friend. Maybe this is just someone else, they think. My friend will be here soon. And then the adult approaches and calls them by name. Now what?
      This however is not always the case. I have an example of an event that is not as scary or possible dangerous as the one I have talked about above. There was a photo on Instagram by a popular account that posts quotes regularly. The only thing the photo said was, "Vent Below," as in, comment below something that has been bugging you. I was scrolling through some of the comments and I am not entirely sure why, but I came across a couple comments talking about how depressed and close to giving up some people were. I decided to take action and post (hopefully) uplifting comments as a response.
      Later that evening I got a follow request from one of the people I had responded to. I was wary at first but when I looked at the message it was simply a "thank you" for my words of encouragement. I honestly wish I knew what he said in the first place that I thought was something I should respond to. It has been a little over two weeks since that day. I consider this random guy I met on the internet (who lives on the other side of the country) one of my friends, or at least a very good acquaintance. (P.S. If you would comment your favorite song or songs in the comments below that would be great because I am trying to find a song he hasn't listened to which is crazily difficult!)
      There are many pros and cons to the Internet so I would just like to advise everyone to be very careful because there are Internet Predators out there and not every scenario ends up the same as my own. (Although really, I would love it if you could comment your favorite song or songs, especially if it is super obscure and not very many people, if any, have heard of it.)